Bundesliga: How blind can referees be?

More and more referees from the Bundesliga are applying for the remake of the TV series “On the run” – three of them put their heads under their arms after the final whistle on Saturday and fled.

The final whistle was the last we heard from them. They avoided the TV microphones as the devil avoided holy water and fled through the judge’s shaft of light, sneaking home disguised in a veiled hat and sunglasses and traveling that night to an unknown destination. Let’s say it succinctly: If necessary, the modern judge will steal away like a chicken thief – but at least make use of his right to secrecy.

Bayern’s Benjamin Pavard (left) knocks Bellingham off his feet from the penalty spot, but the whistle does not sound.


Silence is golden, say especially Daniel Siebert and Daniel Schlager. Therefore, the whole world is now in doubt as to why the two left two penalties unpunished in the long-distance duel for the weekend’s most hair-raising mistake.

In Munich, Benjamin Pavard beat Dortmund’s Jew Bellingham in the penalty area without consequences, regardless of former world champion Lothar Matthäus (“One hundred percent penalty”) and the rest of the experts, and just as unpunished in Leipzig defender Mukiele maltreated Berlin. Gießelmann, who was ready to shoot, so much so that if thick knees had to be wrapped in ice afterwards for the interview.

BL 1 - 2021/2022 - RB Leipzig vs.  Union Berlin

The referee showed Union’s Nico Gießelmann the yellow card after a particularly nasty challenge

Source: pa / photo booth / ballad

Benjamin Brand did it differently. He whistled a penalty kick in Freiburg. However, one that also made “Sky” expert Didi Hamann’s hair stand on end. “So we can stop football,” Hamann fears. Freiburg’s Nicolas Höfler lay flat on the ground, unfortunately, got the ball on his long arm, which he unfortunately could not cut off in time, and the referee awarded penalties. It was what Brand did not say afterwards that something might even be comforting, otherwise he would undoubtedly have taught us very complicated subtleties in the rules and, for example, told us about this arm that it was not spread unintentionally, but spread on an extremely punishable manner.

Video basement drops judges

In any case, the judges should be more open. That it works, Dr. Matthias Jöllenbeck recently proved. The doctor from Freiburg fell for a fall from Augsburg’s Niederlechner in the Mainz penalty area, gave a penalty and then looked for the nearest TV microphone to apologize to the Mainz team. “A clear mistake that is my responsibility,” Jöllenbeck said. To be more precise, he was abandoned by his colleague Tobias Stieler in the infamous video cellar in Cologne. “I wish I would be corrected from there,” Jöllenbeck lamented. After all, it is important “that such punishments do not last”. And the cause of the error has been found and eliminated.

FC Augsburg FSV Mainz 05

Judge Matthias Jöllenbeck (left) sees something that neither Mainz nor Augsburg see

Source: dpa / Matthias Balk

But communication is still going wrong. Someone always curses in the third half, as Dortmunds coach on Saturday. “It’s a top match,” Marco Rose said. “It’s about a lot, it’s about reputation. Then I also expect things to be handled properly. That’s not the case today, and that’s all I can say: Hats off.” The coaches are already on the run, but with sarcasm.

Where’s the whistle? Was Judge Siebert blinded by the low sun? Why did the colleague from the basement in Cologne not give him a burning “Foul! Punishment! Check!” shouted in your ear, he was sitting on the toilet seat? What chain of unfortunate perceptions was there, what blackouts, what confused the students? Questions on questions, also at the match in Leipzig. the monitor and studied one slow motion after another, while from the outset it was crystal clear that the kick against Gießelmann was tantamount to an attempt at a split knee.

“The video evidence should actually ensure justice,” expert Hamann has been desperate since Saturday. Chaos reigns. Instead of being helped by crucial images, the arbitrators and video men are indifferent, and in the end, people flee and remain embarrassingly silent. At least ex-judge Manuel Gräfe spoke on ZDF, calling the communication confusion by its name: “Sometimes it’s checked, sometimes it’s not checked.” Even those who profited from the chaos decisions are now laughing their heads off. Adi Hütter, the Gladbach coach, asked himself after the penalty kick in Freiburg: “Where should Höfler put his hand? Earlier you would have said: no intention.”

SC Freiburg - Bor.  Mönchengladbach

Far from intention, but still a penalty kick – Freiburg’s Nicolas Höfler touches the ball with his upper arm

Source: dpa / Tom Weller

In theory, football could be fairer than ever, for there is actually nothing more perfect than video evidence. But the problem is common sense, composed of the human eye. It’s still cloudy as it used to be.

“I offered the line judge my glasses.”

Do you remember Peter Stoeger? At that time, the Viennese coached the Cologne team, they lost due to a bad decision, and Stöger went steeply on the sidelines (“I offered the line judge my glasses, but he did not see it either”). Unfortunately, his idea that glasses can help with vision and perception did not strike a chord with the judges.

This does not look good. And the irresponsible joke about a judge’s eye test fits this trend. “Read out the numbers,” the ophthalmologist asks him. “What numbers?”, The judge wants to know. “Those on the board,” the doctor helps. “On what board?” asks the judge. “The board in front of the wall,” the doctor explains. “In front of which wall?” asks the judge.

A bad joke, as I said. But it might help to better understand what happened again this weekend in the Bundesliga.

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